By William Smith
Special from ECB Publishing
Maclay running back Lee Williams proved to be the game-breaking talent that Aucilla feared and anticipated Friday evening when he single-handedly routed the Warriors with his 258 yard, five touchdown performance en route to a 43-7 Marauder victory that effectively ended Aucilla’s conference future for 2011.
Williams has now rushed for 1,226 yards and 16 touchdowns this season, an incredible 175 yards-per-game average that has carried Maclay (5-2, 3-1) into a second place divisional rank leading into their face-off with top ranked Munroe (5-4, 4-0) this Friday.
Aucilla (5-3, 1-2) will play out the rest of their season with pride for a prize, as the Warriors are now mathematically eliminated from the conference post-season with losses to frontrunners Munroe and Maclay.
“There is no doubt about the fact that Williams is a special talent. He is the rare blend of superior speed and acceleration that can leave a team grasping air when they try tackling him.” said head coach Colby Roberts. “We knew that the key to this game would be containing him, but unfortunately, we allowed Maclay’s most important player to run free tonight.”
Aucilla’s game plan for stopping Williams included limiting his home-run potential by using a gap-sound defensive front and perimeter contain to cage the runner into short, ineffective rushes. However, Williams evaded the Warrior defenders early and often, displaying his agility by gaining 140 yards of his rushing total and three touchdowns on three of his carries, including runs of 65, 50, and 25 yards.
Aucilla’s offense suffered through another mistake-prone performance that left several scoring opportunities unfulfilled as costly turnovers took their toll. Early in the contest, the Warriors were firmly in control of the game’s tempo, scoring on a bruising 27 yard touchdown run by junior running back Bradley Holm that gave the Warriors an encouraging 7-0 lead.
However, an expensive special teams’ blunder on the following kickoff allowed Maclay an easy touchdown to seize all of the momentum previously gained by Aucilla’s offense. From that point on, penalties and fumbles stunted any offensive progress for the Warriors, leading Aucilla to its lowest point total of the season.
Holm was the clear leader for the anemic Warrior offense, gaining 128 yards and the lone touchdown on 13 carries. Junior wide receiver Jared Jackson also contributed with five catches for 109 yards.
Roberts still sees a positive spin on the season as a whole, however: “While we did not achieve our conference goals for the year, I still consider much of this season as a success. I don’t want to call it a moral victory, because losses can never be minimized, but we have two very winnable games ahead of us and we are already bowl-eligible. We are definitely moving in the right direction.”
Aucilla will now enjoy a much needed open week that will allow several injured players to heal and the team to internally improve its offensive and defensive schemes. The Warriors will return to action Friday, November 4th against winless Rocky Bayou (0-7, 0-4) in the final home game of the season, which will also be their annual Senior Night commemoration.